02 January 2012

Book Review - A Feast Unknown

I've finished reading my first book for 2012. I decided to start the years off with Philip José Farmer. I grabbed one of his books off my shelf that I had yet to read and picked A Feast Unknown. This book is certainly for adults only.

(image from Amazon.com)

While much of Farmer's writings touch on sexuality this book was at times a bit over the top on the subject. It is told first person by Lord Grandrith, an English lord who was raised by apes in Africa from the age of 1. Basically he is the real person behind Burrough's Tarzan series. Grandrith is attacked and hunted by the Kenyan military, Albanian mercenaries, and Doc Caliban (who was the 'real' person which the Doc Savage pulps were based on).

To the Grandrith's shock he finds that violence and death now cause sexual excitement and release while actual sexual activity does not arouse him any longer. Something similar is happening to Doc Caliban.

Behind it all are the mysterious Nine. A group of near immortal beings that control the world. Both Grandrith and Caliban are servants of the Nine and have their lives extended well beyond normal. Now the Nine are manipulating the two into conflict.

I won't go into details here, but many things are touched on during the story; infidelity, rape, incest, bestiality, homosexuality, and the general linking of sex and violence being experienced by the main character as I mentioned above. It is well written but if you are uncomfortable with such topics you may want to stay clear of this book. It is also clear that this book was written in the sixties.

The story leads all the characters to Grandrith's estates in England (well, all except the Kenyan military, I don't think they got through customs). A battle of a pretty large scale takes place between the various factions. After that Grandrith and Caliban battle each other for the right to fill an open seat in the Nine.

This book is not part of Farmer's Wold Newton universe. In this both Grandrith and Caliban are revealed to be children of Jack the Ripper which certainly does not fit the family trees created in Tarzan Alive and Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life.

Overall I enjoyed this book. Nearly non-stop action. At times the violence was a bit silly, and Lord Grandrith's uninhibited descriptions of various sexual topics was uncomfortable at times the story was, in total, interesting. While I haven't decided what scale to use for rating all the books I plan to review this year I'll just go with a six out of ten for it.

PUBLISHER: PEI Books, Inc. Copyright 1969 Philip José Farmer, cover copyright 1980 PEI books, inc.
GENRE: Science-Fiction, Adventure
ISBN: 0-872-16586-8
150+ Reading Challenge 2012, 2012 Read 52 Books in 52 weeks, Read Your Name 2012, 2012 A-Z Book Challenge, 2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge, The 2012 TBR Pile Challenge

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